MA Department of Housing and Community Development – Emergency Assistance Homelessness Program

In July 2009, the Emergency Assistance homeless shelter system was moved from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). DHCD has worked to expand earlier efforts to re-house families from shelter and to lower average lengths of stay and motel utilization. Not only does rapid re-housing (along with prevention and diversion) move families out of homelessness quickly, but it also provides a cost savings to the Commonwealth over long-term shelter and hotel stays.  With this savings, the Commonwealth can invest more in on-going stabilization services for families housed in market-rate apartments or other non-shelter settings.

Record Type: 
Innovative Programs
Start Date: 
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Type of Agency/Organization: 
State TANF Agency
Program Location: 
Boston, Massachusetts
Geographic Reach: 
Clientele/Population Served: 
Homeless families
Programs/Services Offered: 

From July 2009 through June 2010, DHCD re-housed 1500 families with “Flexible Funds,” or short-term subsidies combined with stabilization services provided by agencies contracted with the Commonwealth. DHCD has also partnered with community-based organizations to provide additional prevention services to families that come to a state office to apply for shelter. These organizations can work with families to determine whether there are housing options that can assist in helping them to avoid entering the shelter system. In this way, the Commonwealth can help a larger number of families in crisis meet their needs while ensuring that shelters and hotels are utilized only when absolutely necessary, and for short periods of time.

  • Special Populations
    • Homeless Families